As her family struggle to come to terms with her Alzheimer's, Irenes past passion for romantic literature blurs with reality. She spends hours discussing how best to write her 'memory book' with her imaginary friend and favourite author Barbara Cartland (the deceased world famous romantic novelist), disclosing long kept family secrets that she would never divulge to her daughters.
This tragi-comedy is about memory, loss, secrets and, above all, love.
Here is an informal interview with the writer Gail Young during rehearsals for 'Bothered and Bewildered'.
"Saw Bothered and Bewildered last night and had a phenomenal evening. The show was very emotional and had me and my family leaving with with a few tears in our eyes. The production was such high value and the acting was very realistic and inclusive.
I would absolutely recommend it to anyone I know. Even after the show was done and over the actors came out and spoke to the audience and made it such a well rounded wonderful experience"
"Went to see this last night, and it's an excellent show - break a leg for tonight!"
"Well done Spotlight Theatre Company for a very touching and heartfelt performance last night of a subject that will strike a chord with many. If any friends are free tonight I highly recommend you see this performance in aid of Alzheimer's Society."
"Very moving show and excellent portrayal of a difficult subject. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Well done to all involved, from front of house, cast and stage hands. Seamless production."
Belmont Theatre Company (based in Watford) completed a a four day run of “Bothered & Bewildered” and had a great audience response to the show...' We have had so many wonderful comments about this production and in particular the play itself with its mix of humour and pathos, fantasy and tragedy ........I do not remember ever having had such a response to a production.'
An absolutely outstanding play documenting the lives of a family coping with Alzheimers. An honest, close to the bone and in parts, lighthearted production with an amazing cast! I was completely drawn into the performance & cried big fat ugly tears several times throughout. There were lovely moments of comedy too which helped to cut through the difficult subject matter. Beautiful performances from every single cast member but in particular Martina McCormack who plays Mum Irene - her embodiment of the character was breathtaking. The technical elements, in particular sound effects, were absoloutely pristine, flawless. Massive congratulations.....a piece of perfection. Get along and see it if you can, you won't regret it.
Despite an extended run in January 2019, public demand for tickets means that the show is being staged for 2 extra nights in March. Audience responses to the January production
'Went to see this amazing show last night and it was utterly incredible. Well done and congratulations to the Super talented cast. Having seen my granddad suffer with dementia, it really hit home but in a beautiful way. Well done to all x'
'A massive congratulations to all the cast , what a moving production, such a relatable topic. Each & every cast member played a wonderful part , but Mary Hughes , you turned me into an emotional wreck , I can’t describe how much you brought out so many feelings , I was absolutely blown away by your performance'
'The house lights in the Old Court Theatre dimmed to reveal an animated image of a dandelion clock, dispersing into the winds of time. The scene was set for Chelmsford Theatre Workshop’s latest production ‘Bothered and Bewildered’. It was clear from the publicity and pre-show announcement that Gail Young’s play was about raising awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and the simple, stark opening backdrop left the audience in no doubt that this was going to be a poignant ride.
What struck me most forcibly, however, as Irene and her family gradually came to terms with her spiralling descent into the grips of dementia, was the extent to which this production ably lived up to its billing as a ‘comic drama’. I had been doubtful that, given the subject matter, there would be anything to laugh at here but throughout there were many reminders that light can be seen alongside the darkest of moments. Most notably, Irene’s violent refusal of her long-suffering daughter’s offer of spoon fed scrambled egg was heartbreaking and yet somehow mirrored her slapstick oneliner about her lost ‘sexual energy’ which followed.
The presence, in Irene’s imagination, of her long-time idol, romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, clad in characteristic shocking pink, similarly provided some laugh out loud moments. The character of Barbara Cartland, played suitably haughtily by Barbara Llewellyn, provided the lynchpin for the whole piece, at once delivering comic lines in support of Irene as she faced up to the frustrating realities of her present and acting as the vessel by which she could express her deep, human feelings towards her eventful past.........'
This has to be one of the most poignant plays I have seen in a long while. We all have heard stories about living with Alzheimer’s, this play puts it front and centre in our consciousness...............a dramatic and emotional piece but it has just the right amount of humour in it to make it a very special piece of theatre. I really encourage people to see this as I honestly believe it will resound with you on so many levels and is so well executed that it will be a true shame if more people don’t see what is probably an unknown and an unrecognised play delivered exceptionally well.
The Sedgefield Players most recent production, Gail Young’s ‘Bothered and Bewildered’ has been another success with excellent audiences in attendance.The poignant and sad story of Irene ... and her ongoing battle with dementia, brought a tear to many an eye. ‘A fabulous performance by all and well worth going to see this heart-warming production’. The pathos is offset as Irene has visions of the world famous writer Barbara Cartland Barbara’s often hilarious interruptions help Irene to cope in a world where everything is changing and she is beginning to forget who she is. Past memories of the boy she loved and the child she gave away come back to haunt her and her biggest secret is never fully revealed............‘I have just been to another brilliant production by Sedgefield Players – anyone living anywhere near who has the chance to go – please do! Laughter and tears in equal measure, and so well acted. Well done all – an amazing production on a topic dear to my heart – dementia’
University of Kent Players. Canterbury. Kent. 5 - 7/9/19
ACE Theatre Company. Merstham Village Hall. Redhill. Surrey. 27 - 28/9/19
Emley Drama Group. Huddersfield. West Yorkshire. 29/10 - 1/11/2019
ACE Theatre Company. Godstone. Surrey. 11 - 12/10/19
ACE Theatre Company. Lindfield. West Sussex. 18 - 19/10/19
Compton Players. Village Hall. Newbury. Berkshire. 20 - 23/11/2019
Retford Little Theatre. Retford. Nottinghamshire. 22 - 29/11/2019
Barbara Cartland who sadly died in May 2000 at the age of nearly 99 was the world's most famous romantic novelist who wrote 723 books in her lifetime with worldwide sales of over 1 billion copies and her books were translated into 36 different languages.
As well as romantic novels, she wrote historical biographies, 6 autobiographies, theatrical plays, books of advice on life, love, vitamins and cookery. She also found time to be a political speaker and television and radio personality.
She wrote her first book at the age of 21 and this was called Jigsaw. It became an immediate bestseller and sold 100,000 copies in hardback and was translated into 6 different languages. She wrote continuously throughout her life, writing bestsellers for an astonishing 76 years. Her books have always been immensely popular in the United States, where in 1976 her current books were at numbers I & 2 in the B. Dalton bestsellers list, a feat never achieved before or since by any author.
Barbara Cartland became a legend in her own lifetime and will be best remembered for her wonderful romantic novels, so loved by her millions of readers throughout the world.
Her books will always be treasured for their moral message, her pure and innocent heroines, her good looking and dashing heroes and above all her belief that the power of love is more important than anything else in everyone's life.